What You Don't Know About The 2006 Asian Games - Read Up

While Qatar has promised to give athletes and spectators "the games of your life" it seems many of the construction workers who built the facilities won't share the same happy memories from their Games experience.

Efforts have been made in Qatar to improve the standard of living for the legions of migrant workers, but it seems that plenty more needs to be done. Workers who refurbished Khalifa Stadium, venue for Friday's extravagant opening ceremony, say contractors continue to rob them of a slice of their paltry wages.

"The company for which I work promised to pay me 1,000 riyals ($275) a month, but its (Indian) manager is only paying 750 riyals ($206)," said Raju Nat, a 24-year-old Indian, during a break outside the stadium.

Basenta, a Nepalese construction worker, said he was receiving $150 a month instead of the $165 he had been promised. "I have no choice but to work for this small sum because I can't find a job in my country, and I have to provide for my four children, to whom I send ($40-95) a month," he said.

The CEO of United Development Company (UDC), a Qatari-Gulf private shareholding firm, felt the problem lay with small contractors, saying "they are either greedy or take projects at low prices, which prompts them to pay low salaries in order to make profits."

Working conditions

Qatar's labor ministry has attempted to become more proactive in protecting workers conditions. A new labor law passed two years ago stipulates that employers must pay monthly wages by the fifth of the following month.

Despite this conditions still remain poor and many workers choose to live on the construction sites rather their accommodation which often lack proper sewerage facilities.

According to Mohammed Fuad, a legal expert with the officially-sanctioned National Human Rights Committee, more than a quarter million workers were brought in over the past two years to cope with the construction boom in Qatar.

The small Arab state has been using its immense wealth to build hotels, residential quarters as well as facilities for its Asian Games.

Hot, hard work with little reward

"When the number of workers increases, so do labor problems," said Fuad, adding that most complaints received by his committee relate to late payment of salaries and difficulties for workers seeking to change the "sponsors" of their residency.

While the committee received few complaints about the wages for unskilled workers, ranging from $165 to $330 a month, "are too low and don't match the cost of living", said Fuad.

Whether the workers were aware of their rights and the ability to make complaints about conditions was unknown. Workers receive almost no Occupational Health and Safety training and if they do, it is often wrong. This resulted in five workers dying from hydrogen-sulphide poisoning earlier this year.

Less than human

In its annual report released last May, the National Human Rights Committee warned of the less-than-human working conditions of the expatriate labour force, brought mainly from India and Pakistan, and urged the government to take action.

"The abuse of labor rights is on the rise, especially in the construction sector, which is something that would tarnish the image of the country if not checked," the committee said.

A UN specialist in combating human trafficking, who visited Qatar two weeks ago, praised the measures taken by Doha to control recruiting agencies which deceive migrant workers. However, it said Qatari authorities had much more to do to meet their international obligations to combat human trafficking.

"I have found that a number of people, including women, travel to Qatar in order to make a living... (But) more often than not they are shocked to find themselves in exploitative situations upon arrival," Sigma Huda told reporters in Doha.

Source: Al-Jazeera

Comments

the life in qatar

would you like to know why we left qatar?

alrite lets see....my father worked for a bank...was a high position...however his boss(a qatari) NEVER worked..NEVER was in the office and DIDNT CARE for the employees...but he got the biggest chunk of money while he was out on vacation DOING NOTHING!!!!!!!!! this is unfair??? what kind of backwards system is this? these qataris get huge amounts of money for doing NOTHING! its unjust and downright wrong...these people get off the hook so easily... not only that..but the poor workers who do the dirty work are treated disrespectfully but have no choice to live there because they have to support their families!..they put up with the qataris crap and get paid very little...its almost like a feudalistic society if you think about it...qatar would still be in the desert, in tents. they should be on their knees thanking these asian workers for building them wonderful facilities and providing them with western influences....i mean could these qatari people be more arrogant...why yes of course they could! its scary just to be on the roads in doha....they think with their big mighty land cruisers they own and control the road...if your not going fast enough for them they ride on your tail and speed up ahead of you...they cut in front of you on purpose...it shows how much they care...the police NEVER stop them..and why is that! BECAUSE they are qatari...they have no respect for others..its all about them..them and THEM!...they skip others in the fast food lines....they make rude comments (lived with that a few times in the mall and my own dang compound)...i mean who do they think they are!! imagine if all the workers left..what would these qataris do?? ooo thats right! continue to sit at starbucks..smoke...check out women...and laugh amongst their friends....

Life in Qatar

....You know, this story in essence has the same basic 'cry' as all the stories on this site, which is an excellent site by the way and should be shoved under the nose of the Emir...but that will never happen !!! Anyway, we all complain about this place and most things that happen on a daily basis...no matter what we say or do, Qatar and QATARI'S will never change and that's a fact. We therefore have two events to look forward too...the first is that we (expats) will leave this place and secondly, be thankful for the knowledge that what goes around, comes around and sooner or later these Qatari Neanderthals will get what's coming to them.

Republished Comment in Reaction to this Story

LIFE IS TERRIBLE -workers in construction companies "ASIANS"
Submitted by Completely Anonymous on Tue, 2007-05-08 09:08.

VERY often you see many idiot organizations praising Qatar for their fucking laws (majority applicable 4 statues than humans). but the real face is terrible. The laborers work hard like hell in construction sites where the climate is extreme always!! In spite of this minimum 4 or 5 months salary will be unpaid. Also very little paid wages for such hard work done. no food, in 1 room itself its so small that you feel hard it is difficult to breath, housing facilities given are pathetic. The majority of the money of these poor fellows will be enjoyed by Qatari owners for changing LANDCRUISERS, NOKIA PHONES!!! meanwhile workers are starving to survive. Their families have no idea what is happening back in their homeland.

Let me sincerely congratulate the owners of this site & everyone behind it. Your initiative is fantastic. Let the people know the real faces of this MOTHER FUCKERS (QATARIZ)!!!

ONLY VERY FEW OUT OF 100% Maybe 6% QATARIS ARE EXCELLENT IN THEIR BEHAVIOR, APPROACH.